Sayfend

Named long ago, Sayfend was once the ‘end’ of safe traveling in the Valley of Gent before the wild animals and bandits were eradicated. Until approximately 100EM, the Valley of Gent was one of the most dangerous places to travel. Because of its secluded nature, the far reaches of the valley were home to dozens of bands of raiders, bandits, thieves, outlaws and vagrants. Sayfend, roughly 300 miles from the eastern most edge of FreePort City (as the crow flies), was the last refuge for the ‘honorable and law abiding citizens’. Beyond the logging city’s boundaries, everything from petty theft to murder and rape was as common as the trees.

Today the city and surrounding areas have grown and settled. That is not to say that criminals and outlaws don’t still exist, however the FreePort City police have been instrumental in keeping the city safe.

Sayfend sits in the middle of the densest forest in the Valley of Gent. For over a century it has been one of the most prolific logging operations on the western half of Atla. Over the past 1,000 years the Valley of Gent has been populated by hundreds of small hamlets and villages. From approximately 750PM onwards, as FreePort grew so too did the population in the Valley. With a plentiful supply of trees most of the hamlets and villages were made entirely out of wood. FreePort City, initially built out of stone and brick, incorporated wood into many of its buildings. This is one reason why FreePort City has one of the most diverse architectural landscapes of any other city.

It wasn’t until the demand for Gent Wood (as the trees from the Valley of Gent were called) increased that the first lumber mills began to sprout from the ground. Unique species of hardwood trees found only in the Valley of Gent were sought after by ship builders and carpenters alike. By 400PM Gent Wood was being shipped up and down the western coast of Atla and as far away as Krisos. Many of the villages throughout the Valley relied heavily on the harvest and export of wood for sustenance. However, most of the hamlets held fewer than 500 people (who farmed locally for their food). This meant the logging operations were usually conducted by no more than a dozen men from a given hamlet, leaving the forests as a whole largely untouched. The lumberjacks typically traded their wood in FreePort for fresh fish and other luxuries or equipment found only in FreePort city itself.

For several centuries the need for lumber steadily grew and the number of logging operations grew in both size and volume. And by the Magi Revolution and the unification of Atla, six separate cities had developed highly advanced and prolific logging operations. Sayfend, the farthest from FreePort, was known for its rough, degenerate crowd. However it was also known for its great lumber. Over the next 100 years Sayfend expanded its logging and engulfed several of the smaller operations, creating the single largest operation in the valley.

Around 90EM the still new government was making an attempt to unify the people and assert its citizen given powers. One such initiative taken by the GPC of the time was to cut down on crime across the entire continent and ensure the uniform policing of national laws. Sayfend, a logger’s town on the fringe of society in more than one way, was one of the GPC’s many targets. By requiring licenses, certifications and safety checks the GPC was able to shut down many of the more dangerous logging operations and end the viral spread of Sayfend’s fear based control over the smaller, independent logging operations.

Instead of dozens of people losing their jobs and having no way of supporting themselves the GPC took a three step approach in revitalizing Sayfend. First, all the people guilty of overt criminal acts were put in jail or fined. Second, new, legitimate jobs were created as the mills and factories were expanded upon and restructured. And finally, all the legitimate employees of the previous corrupt business operations were given the certification classes and test for free (something new employees had to pay for themselves). By 100EM the GPC’s work had paid off and Sayfend had changed inside and out. The seedy, corrupt logging companies were disbanded and eradicated. The dangerous and careless methods of logging were brought up to a new safety standard. And most importantly the city was a place where families could live.

Sayfend continued to grow over the next century. By 200EM it was one of the five most productive lumber operations in the nation. But the growth didn’t continue forever. In the past thirty years Magi-Tech has had a huge role in streamlining the logging operations. The once dense forests were victim to the march of progress and began shrinking at a rate never before seen. Today the Forest of Gent has been reduced in size by nearly 70% what it was during the Magi Revolution. Deforestation has been so severe that 20% of the mills and logging plants have closed in the past fifteen years. In an effort to protect the forest and allow them time to recover, NEMPA has instituted a production cap for all logging operations. Many of the mills and plants who operate independently in the city haven’t been affected by the limit. But the two largest operations of Sayfend, GreenWood Mills and Renshaw Lumber, have seen a huge decrease in profits because of the cap. Dozens of people have been laid off due to lack of work. Luckily for the owners of the logging companies, as supply of Gent Wood decreases, the price and demand go up. Though the net value of both companies has gone down significantly over the past two decades, the past four years have seen a slight upturn to the otherwise stead drop in profits. It is speculated that the price of Gent Wood will continue to increase and as it does so, more job opportunities will return.

Today Sayfend has a population of approximately 80,000 which includes the outlying apartments and condos which house workers year round. The main city is situated in the middle of a vast, circular clearing of trees. Concentric, circular roads run around the city like a giant target, connecting all of the shops and streets. There are only two major cross roads through the circular city, one running north to south (Main Street) and another running east to west (Center Street). Buildings are given addresses according to location like coordinates on a graph. Everything west of Main Street is numbered 0-500, and everything east of it numbered 500-1,000. They are further given a label according to the street they are on. Beginning with the outermost road which runs around the perimeter of the forest is A Street. Each smaller, inner road is named for a subsequent letter down to T. There is one more addition to the addresses which clears up the dual potential ambiguity for any given address. At the end of each address is affixed the letter A or B. A refers to a location above Center Street, and B for everything below. In this way you can easily find the exact location for any building or park. An example address would be C250B. This means the address is on the C ring, or third from the edge. The 250 would place it on the western half of the city, in the dead middle between Main Street and the city’s edge. The B then means it is on the southern half of the city. Another example is T505A. This is actually the address for the City Hall. It is on the innermost road at the city’s center, just to the north Center Street. Note also that roads such as Q, R, S and T cannot be numbered 0 or 1,000 because they do not extend far enough east or west. There are side streets which connect the lettered, circular roads. However, since each of the main lettered roads are separated only by the distance of the buildings between them, these streets are not named. There are no houses or businesses on any of the randomly placed connections, as they always travel between two other buildings which lie on an actual lettered road.

Sayfend doesn’t get many travelers. It is the last, major city on the eastern half of the Valley of Gent. It is a day’s journey by motorcart to the Cliffs of Gent. Despite this, the economy in the city is doing quite well. More and more families of the lumberjacks and mill workers have moved to the city with their working spouses, whereas before, most workers would spend three weeks working and then two weeks at home. Restaurants, shops, parks, libraries, they’re all accounted for in Sayfend. There are even three schools and one trade college in the city. While the city hasn’t completely forgotten its dangerous past, it is a fine place to raise a family.

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